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Chara in, Krug, McAvoy out for Boston; Buffalo eyes sixth straight home victory

by Heather Engel / Independent Correspondent

BRUINS (22-7-9) at SABRES (17-14-7)



The Game

Zdeno Chara will return for the Boston Bruins but fellow defensemen Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy will not be in the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Friday.

Chara, the 42-year-old Bruins captain, will play after missing a 7-3 win against the Washington Capitals on Monday because of a scheduled follow-up procedure for a broken jaw sustained during the Stanley Cup Final.

Krug, placed on injured reserve on Friday, is expected to be out until at least Tuesday after sustaining an upper-body injury against the Capitals. McAvoy, who sustained an undisclosed injury against Washington, did not travel to Buffalo but is expected to skate Saturday, coach Bruce Cassidy said. 

The Atlantic Division-leading Bruins are 2-4-4 in their past 10 games following an eight-game winning streak.

The Sabres have won five straight at home, outscoring opponents 25-12, and are 1-3-1 in their past five games overall after a three-game winning streak. 


Players to watch

Bruins forward David Pastrnak has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak.

Sabres captain Jack Eichel has 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) in his past 19 games. His run of at least one point in 18 consecutive games played ended in a 3-1 loss at the Ottawa Senators on Monday.


They said it

"We're missing some key players, players that have been really good for us and great puck-moving defensemen. It's up to the next guy, it's always about the next man up and that's where we're at." -- Bruins center Patrice Bergeron on being without injured defensemen Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy

"This is one of the premier teams in the League and we understand the challenge. I would say you get a bit of an edge at home. Of course, you don't have that same travel that they would have had last night and this morning (if Boston were on the second half of a back-to-back). We need to try to use that to our advantage." -- Sabres coach Ralph Krueger on facing the Bruins


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Danton Heinen

Sean Kuraly -- Charlie Coyle -- Anders Bjork

Joakim Nordstrom -- Par Lindholm -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Connor Clifton

John Moore -- Steven Kampfer

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Brett Ritchie, David Backes

Injured: Torey Krug (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (undisclosed), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), Kevan Miller (knee)


Sabres projected lineup

Victor Olofsson -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner -- Marcus Johansson -- Jimmy Vesey

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Conor Sheary -- Evan Rodrigues - Rasmus Asplund

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Brandon Montour -- Henri Jokiharju

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Zach Bogosian

Injured: Marco Scandella (illness), Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body)


Status report

Larsson will be a game-time decision after missing two games with an upper-body injury. … Okposo will play after missing the loss at Ottawa because of an illness. … Kampfer was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Friday and will play his first NHL game since Nov. 27. 


Stat pack

Marchand has 38 points (20 goals, 18 assists) in 43 games against Buffalo. … Skinner will play in his 700th NHL game.

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